Boston College

The tricky business of getting Americans to save more

There is some much-needed good news for retirement savers: As investing fees hurtle toward zero, employers are seeing the benefit of ditching expensive funds from 401(k) plans and replacing them with cheaper index funds. The result has been a boon for retirement savers. Why are fees so important? Like termites that eat away at your foundation, higher investment costs can erode your potential savings by tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

Yet lower fees alone will not solve the retirement savings shortfalls that many Americans face. According to the Investment Company Institute, the 401(k) is the most popular type of defined contribution plan, with...